On Monday, January 9th, Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID), joined by co-sponsors Senators Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Rand Paul (R-KY) – introduced S. 59, the Hearing Protection Act of 2017 (HPA). Similar legislation was introduced in the House by Reps. Jeff Duncan (R-SC) and John Carter (R-TX) – along with 42 co-sponsors – as H.R. 367.
The HPA would remove sound suppressors from regulation under the National Firearms Act (NFA) and treat them as ordinary firearms under the Gun Control Act of 1968 (GCA). As with other firearms, commercial manufacturers, dealers, and importers would still have to be licensed, and the items’ retail sales would be subject to the GCA’s background check and transfer form requirements.
Currently, suppressors (misleadingly referred to as “silencers” in federal law) are subject to the NFA’s cumbersome and lengthy application process (about 6 to 12 months) and a $200 tax stamp. This is so, even though the devices themselves are completely harmless and very rarely used in crime.
Like a muffler on an automobile, suppressors reduce the muzzle report of the firearm to which they are attached, protecting the hearing of the firearm’s operator and reducing noise and disturbance to those nearby. Recoil is also dampened.
Suppressors have soared in popularity in recent years, as more and more hunters and firearm owners have discovered their benefits. Private ownership is legal in 42 states, and they are lawful for hunting in 40 of those states.
Contact your U.S. senators and congressional representative now. Let them hear from you on this legislation to protect your Second Amendment right via the NRA Write Your Reps tool or use the Congressional switchboard at (202) 224-3121.